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    October 31, 2011
    Carving Pumpkins With Science!

    Carving pumpkins the normal way is a lot of work, even if it is a lot of fun.  Fortunately, a science teacher named Mr. Bergmann showed his chemistry class a much more fun, much quicker way to carve a pumpkin.  The key, boys and girls, is science.  The best way to carve a pumpkin is via explosion.

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    How does it work?  I don’t know.  One thing I can tell you for sure is that you do NOT want to try this at home, unless you’re a chemistry teacher.  Apparently, this teacher has a whole YouTube channel where he performs cool science stunts, so if you liked that, you’ll want to visit CBergmann12′s YouTube homepage.  Also, you may want to wear eye protection, just in case the science gets too awesome for your brain to handle and it makes your eyes blow out.

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    October 28, 2011
    Flashing Back To NBA Jam

    The year was 1993, and the arcade was still hanging on.  While the glory days of the video game arcade were dwindling, there were still some standout titles, and most of those came from Midway.  Midway had the hottest consoles in the arcade, including Terminator 2, Super High Impact Football, and of course, NBA Jam.  It was, and is, an epic game the likes of which cannot be duplicated.

    Now, here’s an incredibly rare, behind-the-scenes look at just how Williams Electronics pitched NBA Jam to the National Basketball Association and NBA head David Stern.  Even now, this is an aspect of the business most people don’t get to see.  It’s amazing to see just how A) much work Midway put into developing the player movements and digitizing the various moves, B) how their whole idea of a realistic game got thrown out the window for whatever reason, and C) how much cooler the game could have been if they had included that first-person POV dunking control.

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    It’s just a shame Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley never were able to get included into a home version of NBA Jam, though Kevin Johnson and Thunder Dan Majerle were borderline unstoppable in spite of the lack of the Round Mound of Rebound.

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    October 27, 2011
    NMA TV’s Steve Jobs Memorial

    Death is a tragedy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t also find a little light in a bad situation.  Take, for example, the recent release of Steve Jobs’ autobiography by Walter Isaacson.  It’s a huge tome, at 630 pages, but the geniuses at Taiwan’s Next Media Animation have turned those hours of reading into one quick, easy-to-digest 90-second animation.  That’s right, the NMA TV guys have animated Steve Jobs’ autobiography.  It’s as good or better than you can possibly imagine.

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    It’s pretty funny, right?  While it may be a little too soon, the animation doesn’t actually poke fun at Jobs’ death, just his philosophies in life.  It’s not as good as some previous NMA TV animations, but it’s pretty good nonetheless.

    Even while having fun with Jobs as a Jedi master to Tim Cook’s Luke Skywalker, it actually contains some pretty good advice for Cook.  Now, Cook’s ability to follow Jobs’ road-map remains to be seen, but it’s clear that Jobs has left the company in good shape for the future.  Now it’s Cook’s job to keep it that way, and that’s the hard part.  All the autobiographies in the world can’t make that happen.

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    October 26, 2011
    Wordless Wednesday: Rising From The Game Grave

    Image via Destructoid

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    October 25, 2011
    Gerber’s Walking Dead Gear

    I’m a loyal, frequent viewer of The Walking Dead, AMC’s hit show about a group of survivors struggling to stay sane and stay alive in a world overrun by zombies.  If you haven’t seen the show, it’s a great experience and probably the best program on TV right now.  (Full disclosure:  I review the show for Den of Geek.)  The other day, Carl Grimes (the 12-year-old son of protagonist Rick) found a cache of weapons wrapped in some kind of carrier.  It was a collection of various knives and machetes, the highlight of which was a particularly awesome-looking machete with no point, but a wicked hooking end akin to a saw or a limb-cutter.

    As it turns out, that awesome-looking machete is a Gerber Gator Machete Pro, and it’s not something invented for the show.  The Gerber Gator is a real machete, and it’s part of Gerber’s Apocalypse collection.  The entire Gerber Apocalypse collection has been prominently featured on The Walking Dead this season, and apparently Gerber’s got a deal with TWD to get their blades featured on the program.

    It’s a rare occasion where useful tools meet fantasy programming to the benefit of both, because not only does Gerber’s line of machetes look awesome, they’re also very functional (both in the zombie world and in the real world).

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    October 25, 2011
    Party Rockin’ An Epic Halloween Light Show

    YouTube user KJ92508 is famous for his holiday lights.  He’s done some epic displays in the past, but they’re nothing like what he’s put together for Halloween 2011.  Simply put, this is the most epic (and most environmentally friendly!) Halloween light show he’s ever done, and the results are magnificent.  He takes LMFAO’s inescapable Party Rock Anthem, added four singing pumpkins, tombstones, and thousands of lights (standard, flood, spot, and strobe) to create one of the most awesome animated light shows ever.  This display is larger than last year’s, but it uses less energy thanks to the upgrade to LED lights.

    Check it out below!

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    I wish I had half this skill, either creatively or technically, because I’d love to do something like this for my house (whenever I get a house).  This is spectacular, though I’d imagine the neighbors might get a little tired of it.  The music is broadcast into car stereos and not pumped over loudspeakers, but the flashing lights must make any neighborhood epileptics nervous.

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    October 23, 2011
    WoW’s Latest Expansion Is For The Pandas

    As a longtime World of Warcraft subscriber, I ended up leaving the game before the previous expansion, which was dubbed Cataclysm and introduced both playable worgen (werewolves) and goblins.  It was fun for WoW players, I’m sure, but the important thing was the elevated level cap (to 85) and the totally remade world for the earliest areas of the game.  What WoW players wanted more than anything were pandaren.  Pandaren are the cuddly panda people, like the one you see above, who are basically a mish-mash of Asian cultures (mostly China) and who are renowned for their unarmed combat skills and brewmaster skills.

    Lo and behold, guess what race Blizzard is introducing into World of Warcraft for their upcoming expansion, Mists of Pandaria?  If you said pandaren, you’d be right.  WoW is finally bringing over everyone’s favorite Warcraft III species into their MMORPG, and unlike previous groups, Pandaren will be neutral until they choose a faction–Horde or Alliance–at level 10.  The level cap will be raised to 90, and the new character class of Monk will be unlocked (presumably it is unarmed combat, but we’ll find that out when more details are released).

    Will this help WoW?  I don’t know that the game needs help, but I think I’m done.  If playable werewolves didn’t win me back, playable panda bears won’t do it, either.

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    October 19, 2011
    Wordless Wednesday: An Apple For An Apple
    Steve Jobs in apple form, by Olivier Lefebvre

    Steve Jobs in apple form, by Olivier Lefebvre

    Image via Geeks Are Sexy.

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    October 19, 2011
    PlayStation Vita Is Coming Feb. 22

    If you have $245 to spare (or $300 for the 3G version), then you’re ready.  If you don’t have $245 to spare, then you have until February 22 to get your cash in order.  Sony will be releasing its latest attempt at handheld gaming, the PlayStation Vita, on February 22 in North America.  Be there or be square, says Sony!

    The PS Vita, eagerly awaited by gamers who are looking for a Nintendo alternative in the handheld video gaming market, will come in two flavors–a $245 WiFi model and a $300 3G model.  Both models will feature the same hardware, with a 5-inch multi-touch OLED screen on the front, a secondary touch pad on the back, front and rear facing cameras, and capabilities for movies and videos and the Internet.  Sony says they have 26 games ready to go when the Vita launches in Japan in December, and some 100 more Vita games in the pipeline for the near future.

    It looks as though Sony is betting a lot on this latest iteration of the PSP family.  PlayStation has moved over 71 million PSP-type handhelds since the system launched.  Nintendo has sold a staggering 352 million portables, including the GameBoy, DS, 3DS, and GameBoy Advance.

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    October 17, 2011
    The Zombie Preparedness Center

    Last night was the premiere of the second season of AMC’s hit zombie horror series, The Walking Dead.  If you weren’t prepared for it last night, Westlake Hardware, a chain of hardware stores in the western plains of the United States, can get you there.  Westlake Hardware has created a zombie preparedness center, and it’s prominently featured on Westlake’s website.

    This guide does not discriminate.  Both the living and the undead get their own special sections, with the living getting tips on how to prepare their defenses and keep the undead out, while the undead get tips on dealing with that lingering rot smell, the flies, and how to reinforce your rotting joints and limbs to prevent total structural failure.

    More importantly, it seems like it’s a great way to make the unexciting (hardware) exciting and interesting.  Or, at the very least, funny.  If it gets eyeballs to the website and orders to the store, so much the better.  Check it out for yourself!

    Visit Westlake Hardware’s Zombie Preparedness Center.

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